"And, when you want something, the entire Universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." -The Alchemist, by Paulo Coehlo



Tuesday, August 13, 2013

My Favorite View

...is the world as seen between a horse's ears.

It was warm out today, but there was a nice cool breeze blowing out in the big field, where I rode Ramsey. 
Green field between black-tipped red ears.
Ramsey seemed to enjoy going out in all of that wide open space: he was very forward at the trot when riding in the lower part of the big field. I walked him through the chute towards the upper part of the field, where we trotted some more, but he wasn't as excited about working up there, so back to the lower field we went. We even got some dressagey work done. I was grinning like an idiot the entire time.

I think he likes me as much as I like him: he was all happy and perky on the cross ties while I was tacking him up today, and he reached for his bridle when I held it up. He didn't test me at all today under saddle, and he received a nice cool bath afterwards.

I was going to ride Lily in an arena...then thought maybe the big field...then decided to just hit the trails, since the day was so freaking gorgeous.

She tried to balk at the trail head again, but I got her going with less difficulty than last time, and from that point on we worked on a more forward walk and trot going away from home. She responded beautifully, and as we were going at a more forward pace, she stopped being so looky (she was looking at everything today; she's in heat thanks to her boyfriend gelding being moved across the aisle from her. Haha...) Within 10 minutes, she was choosing the gait: walk or trot, depending on the footing and slight inclines, and since she was making good decisions, I let her choose. We rode to the meadow, which we went around in reverse this time.


Approaching the creek crossing
A terrible video of Lily successfully crossing the creek, as is her norm now.


On the way back, I took her down to the big bridge, which she crossed on the first try. Every time she even thought about hesitating to stare at the creek below, I said "Walk!" and she obliged. I then had her go off the side of the road and took her down to the creek, and into the water!

Remember this?


Well, that's the same spot we visited today. I rode her down between the bushes to the rocky bank, and even though she was clearly saying, "OMG bushes! OMG mud! OMG water! OMG rocks!" she still kept right on marching forward without very much urging at all.  

I considered having her cross the creek to the path that leads out of it on the other side, but the water looked pretty deep and her front feet were sinking almost to her pasterns in the mud on the bank. I could tell that she would have done it if I'd asked, which I was so, so happy about, but I was afraid of her feet sinking in the muddy bottom trying to get across. (I was SO PROUD of her for NOT freaking out about her feet sinking in the mud!!) I'd lose her trust if I had her literally go off the deep end and something bad happened.

So we turned around, and I had her go into the water in the same spot we'd visited on foot before. Lily did as I asked without much ado. I encouraged her to put her head down and touch the water. She first snorted loudly at it, then drank. I then turned her around and we headed back over the bridge. Instead of following the road back up to the trail, I let her take a deer path that she had pointed out numerous times before. She trotted her way happily up that path, and she slowed to a walk on her own when it connected to the horse trail.

Ok, I could not get over what an awesome little ride this was. She was looky initially but remained relaxed for the most part. I acknowledged when she pointed things she was worried about (she did this while continuing to move forward), but firmly asked her to continue when it turned out to be nothing. I was thrilled that the end result was that she let go of the things that worried her, instead of obsessing about them. The best part? She FINALLY trusted me. She trusted me to go into the creek and get her feet wet, with me on her back instead of me on foot sending her in. That was huge!!

She received treats afterwards, a bath, and I finally trimmed her bars, taking advantage of the fact that her hooves were wet, which made this job a thousand times easier (wet hooves = softer for trimming).

It was a happy ending to what was otherwise a sad day: Mom returned to PR today. I'll put some photos of our adventures in the next post.

5 comments:

  1. Q is the same way about moving faster and chilling out. Let her move slowly and she second guesses EVERYTHING.

    I see such a huge change with Lily lately. The more trail time and having to work through the problems presented out there, the more willing and forward she seems to be about things. I think its like a kid growing up in a sense: you leave the microcosm of home (ring/stall/paddock) where tiny things would seem huge to enter the bigger world where you learn new things about life (trees, creeks, rough terrain, deer) and realize that those tiny things before weren't so bad and that the new things aren't so bad either. Change is good.

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    1. Yes, change is very good! Your analogy is absolutely correct. I'm almost looking forward now to seeing if she handles everything the same way sober. I'm acing until she can be turned out 24/7. She'll be falling asleep on the cross ties, but once we're out there, she feels 100% awake. So I think at this moment, all the ace is doing, really, is take the edge off. She still makes her decisions and is fully capable of acting up if she really wanted to. So I think this is all very promising!

      I thought I rode her on the trails often in South FL, but looking back on the blog, "often" = about once a week, sometimes once every other week. I've switched it around: we're going out at least twice a week now, more if the weather permits!

      As she gets braver and my own trust in her grows, I get braver: "Oh, you did x thing well, let's try this!" which further expands her exposure in a positive way, and her trust in me seems to grow in turn. The ultimate reward has been a blasting whinny whenever I arrive at the barn! To the point where Charles is now jealous - he's been stuffing her face with treats when he sees her in an attempt to get her to do the same thing for him! Haha... so far it has not worked! ;)

      I saw an awesome all-around horse in her during my very first rides on her. She seems to be heading in that direction again! I am uber-proud of her progress!

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  2. Love the views between the ears :)

    Glad you had a good ride!

    Yay for you and Ramsey clicking and for Lily's trust! :) Looks like a perfect day for exploring!

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    1. It was beautiful out! Thank you. :)

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